Peachtree Ridge High's head coach, Bill Ballard, says he liked what he saw from both of the teams he brought to the two-day camp. His Peachtree Ridge No. 2 team made it to the semi-finals before losing to his No. 1 squad and gave Callaway High School of Hogansville, Ga., a good test before finishing in fourth place.
Peachtree Ridge No. 1 outscored John Carroll of Birmingham 28-26 in the championship game. However, in most games the Lions from Peachtree Ridge devoured their competition and coasted to victories.
On their way home to Suwanee, Ga., Peachtree Ridge's coaches and players stopped on South College Street to chow down. As regular visitors to Auburn camps, the coaches had already scouted out their favorite dining options before they loaded up their vans and headed up I-85.
Last year Peachtree Ridge lost its opening two games of the regular season and reeled off 12 straight victories before falling to Camden County in the Class AAAA state championship team. With many of the key players returning for the 2009 season, Peachtree Ridge will be one of the top teams in Georgia again this fall.
"We had a real nice run last season," Ballard says. "We had a real good senior class last year with good leadership. We had a lot of talent in our junior class last year. We are hoping they are going to become leaders this year for us."
Two of the most impressive players at the camp were on the Peachtree Ridge No. 1 team--Bradley Roby and Brandon Stanley. Roby played cornerback and wide receiver and Stanley played safety and wide receiver.
"It's amazing to get to play on the team we have," says Stanley, a 6-2, 190-pound football and track standout who is getting recruiting attention from SEC and Big 10 colleges plus some others.
Brandon Stanley is shown at the passing camp on Saturday.
"It is just fun to come out to a camp like this one and compete with everybody," says Stanley, who also notes it was good exposure for him in front of Auburn's coaches, who carefully watched all of the two-day event.
Coach Ballard agrees with Stanley that the camp experience was a good one for the Lions. "A camp like this one is great for the development of the team," he says. "It helps the cornerbacks and the receivers, and the timing of your quarterback throwing to the receivers.
"It is also good for the camaraderie with the kids getting together and getting away from Atlanta and spending time together," he says. "They have a lot of fun doing that. I think that helps us grow as a team. We have a lot of fun coming down here to Auburn and we have been doing it for a long time."
Bradley Roby, a speedy receiver and cornerback, was a key player for Peachtree Ridge at the camp catching touchdown passes and intercepting balls thrown in his direction.
Ballard says winning makes the trip even more fun, but adds, "The big thing is you want our guys to compete on every play. That is important. This gives you an attitude to do that. You come down here and there is great competition every year. Our guys get out there and mix it up with different guys so you are not going against the same players you compete against all of the time in practice. It's a real good for the team.
"Our twos did well and I think that is real good for their development, maybe even more so than the older guys because it helps them see the level of competition they are going to be facing," the Peachtree Ridge head coach adds.
Quan Bray, who will just be a junior this fall, was one of the top athletes at the event. He began receiving Division I scholarship offers as a sophomore.
The cousin of former Auburn cornerback and CFL player Jason Bray, the Callaway High star is playing quarterback this year to help the team. He notes that he had a good time at the camp and the competition will help him get ready for the 2009 season, his first to play QB.
Bray notes that he enjoyed meeting Auburn's running back coach, Curtis Luper, along with head coach Chizik.
Quan Bray looks for a receiver at the passing camp. The Callaway High star is just going to be a junior, but says he has 10 scholarship offers.
After the camp, Chizik addressed the players and coaches and told them he and the rest of the staff were impressed with how much effort the teams put into the competition and invited them to return to Auburn. Chizik also reminded the athletes the importance of taking care of academics if they want to be recruited by colleges.
"When a college coach walks into your high school the first thing he will check is your grades," Chizik notes. "If you don't have them, he won't even turn on the projector to take a look at your video. If you want him to turn that projector on, you have to take care of your academics."
Auburn assistant coach Tommy Thigpen watches the action at camp on Friday.
The Auburn coaches will continue their camp schedule on Monday with a three-day individual camp for fourth graders through rising seniors. On Thursday will have another team passing camp for high school teams.